Title will be difficult now, admits Real Madrid boss Zidane

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Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane admits his team's hopes of winning the Primera Division title are fading after a 1-1 draw with Malaga left them nine points behind Barcelona.

Cristiano Ronaldo gave Madrid the lead in the first half by heading home Toni Kroos' free-kick, but was fortunate the goal was allowed to stand as he was in an offside position.

The Portuguese then had a penalty saved by Carlos Kameni barely a minute laterand Malaga defender Raul Albentosa punished Madrid after the break by smashing in the equaliser.

The result was a blow to Madrid's hopes of overhauling arch-rivals Barcelona, but Zidane is not ready to admit defeat just yet.

"It is obviously going to be difficult because we have dropped two points, but we won't give up," he told a press conference.

"There are 39 points still to play for. You may think the league is over, but the players and myself don't believe that. There are plenty of points up for grabs and the others can lose too.

"I am not thinking of the others, though, but about continuing to work towards our objectives no matter what happens."

Zidane refuted suggestions Madrid under-performed at La Rosaleda, pointing out his side spurned chances to increase their lead.

"I don't think we didn't play well. We have problems with second balls, but we could have killed the game before," he said.

"In the end we could even have lost, so maybe we have even won a point."

Madrid defender Marcelo also tried to stay positive, but admitted dropping points was a huge blow to their title ambitions.

"We've drawn today, of course we really wanted to win and this feels a bit like a defeat," he told Canal Plus.

"We're going to keep on fighting. Away games are always difficult, as are home games, because teams always give everything against Madrid. Now we're thinking about next week's game (the Madrid derby against Atletico Madrid), which is also going to be difficult.

"Malaga are a great team, we knew that. We made a few errors, but we'll never give up, even though there's a big gap between us and Barcelona.

"We had the game under control, but we made a few mistakes in certain moments. Now we have to examine what we did wrong today so we don't make the same mistakes again."

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